The Soaring American Economy Special issue Life Magazine 1/5/53
The soaring economy of post war America was the gold standard for the American Dream.
The people of Mid-Century America had never been more prosperous, never had Dad, the breadwinner, taken home so much money.
The soaring strength of the roaring bull market was at an all time high symbolizing confidence in the Capitalist system. American industries were the symbol of our strength, and like the biceps of the healthy and strong, spoke of the wisdom of our ways.
In early January of 1953 Life Magazine published a special issue devoted solely to the booming American economy. Entitled “The American and His Economy,” it was an unabashed love letter to this record-breaking economic splendor.
A Land of Good n’ Plenty
Mid-Century Businessmen were sitting pretty (L) Illustration from Martin Aircraft 1946 (R)
“During the past dozen years or so,” the magazine begins in an introduction written by social historian Frederick Lewis Allen, “we have been watching in the United States something close to a miracle…The once sick American economy has become the wonder of the modern world.”
The articles then go on to boast: “In two decades the U.S. has by-passed the methods and exceeded the goals which old-fashioned socialism had set up as ideals for an economic society.”
“It has achieved instead something totally new and something infinitely better.”
“More or less unconsciously the nation has pulled off a major social revolution. The means to this end have been historically unique, a process mainly of grading society up from the bottom rather than down from the top.”
American Abundance for all Vintage ad Wheaties sweepstakes 1958
“Most of the change has been wrought by a simple but bold economic idea: more of everything for everybody.”
“It is an idea of production and consumption rather than conservation and thrift.”
“Some of the results are far-reaching:
- More Americans now own their homes than rent.
- Since 1929, the US has moved halfway toward equality of income for all members of the population.
- The US has reached a state almost unique in history where increase in population means increase in prosperity.
For Mr and Mrs America, the factory workers, engineers, housewives and business managers, the issue never lets us forget that, “the US is still a place to get rich quick and honestly.”
A Confident Future
Money to Burn in a Booming Economy (L) Vintage illustration Wall Street from “The Romance of Capitalism” 1958 by Donald Cooke (R) Money to burn illustration from vintage American Airlines ad 1953
And finally, to answer for the reader the most important question of all about their economy the article asks: “Where are we going from here and what will happen to me?”
According to the giddy experts, there was no end in sight for this soaring economy.
The bull in our soaring bull market was a symbol that the US could compete and win.
And in this land of good and plenty one thing we were never short of was confidence.
A Bull Market Indeed!
Copyright (©) 20013 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved